The greatest of great thanks to our children (the best ones on the planet, it should be noted) for giving us a unique experience last night with their anniversary present of dinner at Blue Hill At Stone Barns.

This “farm to table” restaurant is truly one of a kind.  Over a three hour period we had something like 14-15 courses – not the gluttonous feast it sound like either; course sizes ranged from tiny-one bite items to a few bites – which provided some of the freshest, most flavorful foods I\’ve ever had (and I\’m sure my wife would agree).

We got there about a half hour early, so we could walk the grounds – including the eye-popping  greenhouses (about 22,000 sq. ft. of them) which, according to the signs, were closed for the day.  How come we got in anyway?  Well, despite those signs, the doors were still open and no staff was there to say no.  (In other words, the combination of a “closed” sign and an open door brought the Brooklyn right out of me). 

The sheer amount and diversity of foods being grown in – and out of – those greenhouses, along with the beautiful rows of fresh, colorful, plants, were almost worth the drive just by themselves.

(Speaking of the drive, we were amazed we could walk the grounds.  The skies opened up while we drove there and the Garden State Parkway, especially around Montclair and Bloomfield, was so flooded that, at several points, only some of the cars were even willing to try driving through.  Later, we heard they actually closed the GSP in that area for a while…probably within minutes of our risky-but-successful traversals.)

Beyond the singular quality of food and service, there was a point during the meal when we were invited to a table in the kitchen and served a course while we watched how the staff puts everything together (a few other people were given this privilege as well, but most were not).  It is mystifying how so many people doing so many things, each in relatively limited space, can coordinate as well as they do.  But they do.

The drive home was much easier – almost rain-free. I was at the wheel, and my wife was in command of the radio (in other words, Standard Operating Procedure). 

It was just a terrific experience from beginning to end….and especially nice as a gift (as you might have guessed, this is a bit more pricey than the local McDonald\’s). 

That\’s something we\’ll talk to our children about – they are way more generous to us than they have any reason to be.  But you can bet that we\’ll be thanking them profusely as we do.

Oh, one other thing:  no wine sent to the table by the Obamas, who were there the night before.  So my offer:  three days of saying nothing but nice things about the President – is hereby retracted.  Too bad, Barack.  You had your chance.

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